David Stern

Year of Call: 1989

"He has a first-class brain and is very innovative in developing legal arguments."

Legal 500 2019.

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David has a wealth of experience in business crime, commercial insurance and financial regulation.  He is ranked in Chambers & Partners as a leader in the field of Financial Crime (London) as well as the Legal 500 for Business and Regulatory Crime (including Global investigations) (London). 

"He has a very high intellect, is able to develop very compelling legal argument and is extremely good at analysis of the papers."  

Chambers and Partners 2019.

"He is an absolutely first-rate junior and his intellectual and legal arguments are outstanding. He is a talented and pragmatic defence counsel, who is tactically astute and very hard-working."

Chambers and Partners 2015.

David regularly acts for large corporations seeking to recover insurance losses in the London Market and has a proven track record in successfully resolving policyholder claims through negotiated settlement, litigation and mediation.

"(David) Stern is the key business crime and financial regulation barrister at the set. His areas of expertise include advising on rate rigging, corruption and investment fraud cases."

Chambers and Partners 2017.

"Working with David is a pleasure because he combines an ability to master almost any problem with an impressive talent for hard work. He analyses the minutiae of a case without losing sight of the larger picture and is a great asset to any team who wants to get it right from the start."

Chambers and Partners 2018.

David’s practice focuses on corporate regulation, business crime and serious fraud with a particular emphasis on financial services and insurance.

David is Joint Head of the Regulation and Business Crime Practice Group at 5 St Andrew’s Hill and has acted as leading junior and junior counsel in many of the most high profile proceedings in England, especially cases brought by the Serious Fraud Office and the FCA.

David is also Special Counsel at Edmonds Marshall McMahon solicitors (where he has a complementary practice in private prosecutions, as well as representing corporates and individuals in investigations and resulting proceedings) but remains an active member of chambers with a leading practice in business crime and financial regulation.

David has been at the forefront of the recent LIBOR benchmark manipulation scandal involving trading in excess of £350 trillion, successfully representing three banking clients from Barclays, ICAP (UBS and Citibank), Lloyd’s and HBOS in SFO criminal prosecutions and investigations.  He is also considered to be a leading expert in the recent Cum-Ex dividend arbitrage trading scandal which involves alleged losses against European treasuries in excess of £55 billion.

"Provided fantastic client care and was exceptionally well prepared throughout the case."  

Chambers and Partners 2016.

‘A highly experienced and tenacious advocate, particularly with regards to business crime.’

Legal 500 2017.

David also leads the Corporate Advisory Service provided by the Practice Group.  He has a particular expertise in advisory, regulatory and tribunal work arising out of financial transactions. He is regularly instructed to represent both corporates and individuals in FCA regulatory investigations and wider risk-related matters.  He has developed an innovative service for corporations and multi-nationals through conducting risk assessment, compliance, governance and internal investigations as part of team focussed on ensuring his clients with best practice with business and financial crime prevention measures.

David founded Settlement Counsel in 2000 and has acted in many leading high value insurance claims for North American policyholders in the London Insurance Market, including acting as lead London counsel in the World Trade Center coverage case.

He is also a highly respected commercial mediator and handles a range of commercial matters with a particular emphasis on the resolution of financial services and insurance disputes.

Additional Information

Seminars and lectures

David regularly provides lectures and seminars on a variety of subjects, including financial services, business crime, the London Financial and Insurance Markets and mediation. He has presented keynote speeches for several international bar organisations, including the American Bar Association.

Direct Public Access

  • David accepts Direct Public Access instructions.
  • David is able to take instructions directly from law firms, corporations and individuals as well as foreign law firms under the International Practice Rules.


David was educated at King’s College, London (LL.B.) and Jesus College, Cambridge (LL.M.)

Professional Memberships

  • Lincoln’s Inn.
  • Criminal Bar Association.
  • Fraud Lawyers’ Association.
  • Proceeds of Crime Lawyers’ Association.
  • Association of Regulatory and Disciplinary Lawyers.

Asset Recovery, Civil Fraud & Confiscation + View All Specialist Areas

David has considerable experience in restraint and confiscation hearings. He has been instrumental in testing the mechanics of this complex and evolving area of law under CJA 1998, DTA 1994 and more recently under POCA 2002 and the Criminal Finances Act 2017.

His advice and representation is regularly sought by the authorities, defendants and third parties in respect of all aspects of confiscation and civil recovery proceedings.

Cases of Note


Hastings and Rother Justices ex parte Anscombe

[1998] EWHC Admin 146; (1998) 162 JP 340: key authority on the failure to pay a confiscation order.


Serious Fraud Office investigation - Manipulation of the REPO rate at the Lloyds Banking Group

Successfully represented a suspect alleged to have been involved in the manipulation of the REPO rate in connection with payments to HM Treasury arising from the Bank of England’s liquidity scheme following the collapse of the financial markets in 2007.

X v Y and others

Retained to assist in the prosecution of the former CEO of conspiracy to defraud for alleged abuse of his position with unjust enrichment from secret beneficial interests in supplier companies.

SFO v Kerrison (Innospec)

Acted for the lead defendant and CEO in long running allegations of bribery and corruption involving state officials in Indonesia (confiscation and financial orders).

SFO v Wilkinson (UBS II)

Alleged conspiracy to defraud by manipulation of the Yen LIBOR rate by ICAP broker.

SFO v Contogoulas

Alleged conspiracy to defraud by manipulation of US$ Libor rate by derivatives trader.

R v Carney

Multi-million pound commercial mortgage and business loan fraud.

R v Sandison

Acting for the lead defendant, a finance director and chartered accountant, accused of dishonestly concealing facts in a flotation on the London stock exchange.

R v Katcharian

Acting for the lead defendant accused of defrauding Christian philanthropists of Euro 25 million through international prime bank guarantee frauds involving high yield Asset Enhancement Agreements and also of money laundering the proceeds through various Swiss and Liechtenstein bank accounts.

R v Roberts

Multi-million pound mortgage and other secured loan fraud by alleged England rugby “physio”.

R v Freeman

Acted for the sole defendant in the GFX Capital Markets Forex trading fraud alleging a Ponzi scheme against UK investors valued circa £14 million.

Serious Fraud Office v Hughes

Acted for a sole director in a prosecution of a major international boiler room fraud involving in excess of US$100 million against UK investors through the operation of three connected companies based in Madrid.

R v Barso

Acted for the lead defendant, a solicitor, in the prosecution of Operation Triassic, an alleged fraud and money laundering case involving the personal injury claims industry and ATE insurance valued circa £4 million.

R v Rachar

MTIC carousel fraud alleging several hundred million pounds’ worth of VAT – proceedings stayed due to abuse of process regarding non-disclosure.

R v G

International money laundering and drug importation prosecution involving international “supergrass”.


R v Chmiel and others

Defended Polish immigrant worker accused of death of fellow worker, who was acquitted of manslaughter.

R v Kenyon and others

Acted for a defendant in a 6 tonne cannabis importation involving the Hague Convention on the High Seas


Silverstein Properties v Swiss Reinsurance et al.

Acted as specialist London counsel for the claimant in the world’s largest insurance claim (US$7.2 billion) arising out of terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.

Teck Cominco Metals Ltd v Lloyd’s Underwriters

Acted as London counsel for the claimant in a coverage case in excess of US$100 million involving international pollution in British Columbia and Washington State arising out of mining and smelting operations in Canada. The case involved several successful mediations.


Hertfordshire County Council, ex parte Green Environmental Industries Ltd

[2000] 2 AC 412, [2000] 1 All ER 773, [2000] 2 WLR 373: leading House of Lords authority on “the right to silence” under European and domestic law.

Quadmost Limited (In Liquidation) v Reprotech (Pebsham) Ltd

1998] EWCA Civ 474 Court of Appeal: decision affirming Norglen on assignment of causes of action and availability of legal aid for commercial actions, including those alleging fraud.

Norglen Ltd v Reeds Rains Prudential and others

1996] 1 WLR 864, [1997] 3 WLR 1177: Court of Appeal and House of Lords decisions on assignment of causes of action by liquidators and security for costs in an action concerning allegations of fraud.

Director of the Serious Fraud Office, ex parte Smith

[1992] 1 All ER 730 DC: key authority on “the right to silence” in Serious Fraud Office investigations.